BENGHAZI (AFP/Reuters) - Buoyed by French arms drops and intensified NATO air strikes on the regime's frontline armour, Libya 's rebel army said it is poised for an offensive that could put it within striking distance of Tripoli . The rebels' announcement late on Saturday came as a prolonged deadlock on the battlefield prompted mounting pressure from countries outside the NATO-led coalition for a negotiated solution to a conflict that has dragged on for four and a half months. South Africa, which has taken a lead role in mediation efforts, said that President Jacob Zuma would hold talks in Moscow on Monday with representatives of the International Contact Group on Libya as well as Russian officials. Politically, the rebel National Transitional Council received a boost on Sunday when Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Ankara recognised the NTC as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people. Rebel fighters are readying an advance out of their hilltop enclave in the Nafusa Mountains, southwest of Tripoli , in the next 48 hours in a bid to recapture territory in the plains on the road to the capital, spokesman Colonel Ahmed Omar Bani said. Meanwhile, Libya 's rebel chief told Reuters on Sunday in the clearest concession the rebels have so far offered, that Muammar Gaddafi is welcome to live out his retirement inside Libya as long as he gives up all power. Gaddafi has fiercely resisted all international calls for him to go and vowed to fight to the end, but members of his inner circle have given indications they are ready to negotiate with the rebels, including on the Libyan leader's future. Gaddafi is still holding on to power, five months into a rebellion against his 41-year rule and despite a NATO bombardment and an International Criminal Court arrest warrant for crimes against humanity. "As a peaceful solution, we offered that he can resign and order his soldiers to withdraw from their barracks and positions, and then he can decide either to stay in Libya or abroad," rebel leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil said in an interview. "If he desires to stay in Libya , we will determine the place and it will be under international supervision. And there will be international supervision of all his movements," said Jalil, who heads the rebels' National Transitional Council. Meanwhile, Turkey's top diplomat on Sunday recognised Libya 's rebel council as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people, as he vowed to do "everything" possible to end the fighting. Ahmet Davutoglu arrived in Benghazi, giving the National Transitional Council the much sought-after political and economic support of a major regional player and former colonial power. "We think the Transitional National Council is the legitimate representative of the Libyan people," said Davutoglu.